With April being one of the wettest months in recent memory, it was refreshing to see the commitment from all the volunteers in attendance. There’s apple and cherry blossoms on the trees and dormant plants are coming alive, so it’s a great time of year to do some gardening! The unseasonal burst of warm weather last month meant that not only did most people abandon their thermals, but also that many plants were pushed into premature germination. Sowings in the glasshouse have been mainly focused on courgettes and lettuces, with the former being eaten by mice before they had germinated!
Sean Jacques is stepping aside from his role as Community Gardens Co-ordinator at RECG but will still very much be involved and helping out from time to time. Everyone involved will wish Sean well as he switches attention for now to developing other nature based activities. There will be some sadness in this news. Sean’s special way with the land, nature and people is just that… very special.
Having been involved from day one, Sean’s DNA is in the place and the way we do things in the Community Gardens, so these things will endure. Volunteers and community groups will see Sean at events in the Gardens over the summer and have their chance to say thank-you for his massive contribution to date.
Sean Jacques said today, “Thanks to Cyrenians and NHS Lothian for the opportunity to be involved in such a positive and worthwhile project. To those who have collectively volunteered thousands of hours over the past two and a half years; for the goodwill, the humour, the friendship and wisdom you have my deepest gratitude. Hope to see you all soon.”
We welcome Daisy Muir to the team: she’s well known here at the gardens, having been on hand to help out quite regularly. She’ll be based at the new Midlothian Community Hospital Garden, but will be splitting her time between the RECG and the new gardens. We also look forward to welcoming a new coordinator at the RECG: more news on that shortly!!
The asparagus plants have finally left the glasshouse and have been planted outside. A labour of love this plant, requiring two years of growth before harvesting, however the investment shall be repaid with 15 to 20 years of return. The real stumbling block with the asparagus was the hard clay soil in which we were planting it. We solved this problem by using the pinch bar to provide drainage and treated the soil with clay breakers. A few bags of sand were added for drainage and a mixture of topsoil and compost were the final ingredients for them to grow. One year and counting until asparagus joins the list of vegetables we generate here!
The last week of April was spent planting onions, with thanks to John, as he provided over 300 of them! Grown from seed in his windowsill at home, they were transported to the glasshouse where they were kept in an onion box for a good few weeks to establish root systems and grow at an even temperature. Lettuces have come out from the glasshouse to harden off and have been planted with a view to providing a café with some locally grown garnish. Five beds in the top garden now have potatoes in them, and, although potatoes are straightforward to grow, a touch of frost could hamper their progress in the coming months.